King Of The Hill (Fox, 1997-2010)
Here’s yet another cartoon that was aimed at older viewers. In the mid-90s, another animated show that caused a stir was Beavis And Butt-Head (and I plan to review that one soon too), which was created by Mike Judge, who also voiced the main characters. After this was a success, it led to the just about a spin-off series Daria which was very enjoyable, and Judge then went on to create another much-acclaimed show.
King Of The Hill was set in Texas and featured Hank Hill and his family. Hank (voiced by Judge) had some steady work as an assistant manager of a propane company, something that he was very proud of. “I have a narrow urethra” was his popular catchphrase. There is also his wife Peggy who is a substitute teacher, and they have one child, their 12-year-old son Bobby, who is rather “husky” (to use the show’s phrasing).
We also meet a few other family members, including Hank’s dad Cotton who fought in the war, and Peggy’s rather short-tempered niece Luanne, who often argues with Hank. They also have a rather grumpy dog called Ladybird. Among the other regular characters were Hank’s boss Buck Strickland and his neighbour Kahn, and we also meet his circle of friends.
These include Dale who always wore a hat, he is rather into his conspiracy theories, and he has a son who almost certainly isn’t his, Bill who used to be an army Sergeant and is divorced, and most memorably there is Boomhauer who constantly mumbles and they all find his views interesting even though they never know what he is talking about. The four of them often stand together and have a beer whilst pondering the ins and outs of life.
Plenty of things were covered that were rather amusing, as Hank tries to understand life in America in the late-90s. Memorable moments included Peggy’s attempts to play Boggle, Luanne’s puppet show The Manger Babies, Bobby causing trouble at school, Hank wanting to watch the Superbowl on TV, Boomhauer dating Luanne, and much more. Unsurprisingly, the show quickly began to win plenty of awards, and several celebrities including Country singers provided the voices of guest characters.
There would be a memorable quote from the episode played again over the production credit. What is also noticeable about the show is the animation style, where the characters looked much more like actual people than most other cartoons around at the time, there were no yellow heads or big eyes here. It was another one that was a long-running success, and Hank also made an appearance in the other animated Fox shows The Simpsons and Family Guy.
As for scheduling, I think that King Of The Hill was shown on Sky One, and then it was shown on Channel 4 on Friday evenings along with plenty of hype. But then it was moved further and further into a late-night slot. 1am, 2am, even 3am sometimes. I know that they have to show something at that time, but it was a waste and rather disappointing seeing the show slowly fall out of favour as the years went by.
There were 13 series of King Of The Hill that had over 250 episodes, and they have all been released on DVD. They contain plenty of extras including deleted scenes. I’m fairly sure that some of the series I have were won in a competition in the local newspaper. They were always very enjoyable to watch and definitely one of the highlights of the late-90s animated sitcom boom.